Global health challenges: Flu, water, malnutrition, now CoVid-19.

The new COVID-19 has led to more than 454,000 illnesses and more than 20,550 deaths worldwide. While we fight the CoVid-19 pandemic, we should also not forget that we have other global health challenges which have been evident to cause even higher deaths within the past years. 785 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water. This is a global health challenge we have faced till now! Despite that, Malnutrition has done more harm so far even in developed economies where Obesity is taking over and people are losing their own sense of what healthy nutrition actually means. Malnutrition is not a virus against which we are helpless, still it is the main cause of death in the world today.

Lack of safe water leading to about 829 deaths.

Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes, and now even more important for hand hygiene due to the CoVid-19 virus. According to the world Health Organisation, some 829 000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation, and hand hygiene. Read more. As we focus now on CiVid-19, as it poses to be a new threat despite all other global health challenges we already have, we should keep the awareness about the older challenges alive. Because at the end of the day, people often die from a combination of health conditions, mostly interrelated and connected to the compromised immune system of the patient. More on the immune system in another blog article.

Malnutrition is the main cause of death in the world.

Dysfunctional global food systems are fuelling soaring levels of malnutrition and causing a world health crisis. Dr Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization (WHO), says more must be done to ensure people have enough to eat and access to the right foods.

One might think of malnutrition and remember super skinny children in Africa, but let’s face it! Malnutrition is not just about bonny skinny babies, but also about Obesity which is way too often found in industrial and what is called “developed countries” in the world today. Millions of people are suffering from different forms of malnutrition. In fact, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese while 462 million are underweight. So you see that we have even more Obese adults that skinny underweight. Read more

Malnutrition – skinny and Obese

Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet in which one or more nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. Which means we have undernutrition or undernourishment (not enough nutrients) and overnutrition (way too much nutrients that exceeds the amount required for normal growth, development, and metabolism). 

Overnutrition creates diverse health problems in the host, increases susceptibility to disease and disability, reduces worker productivity (that’s why I am passionate about nutrition for our entrepreneurs), and lowers life expectancy. But the good news is that malnutrition, like I said, is not a virus for which we need a vaccine against. The major solution lies in your hands and on your plate. Educating yourself about how to enjoy a nutrient balanced lifestyle is key. Read more in my coming blogs – Joadre Wellbeing

Seasonal Influenza a.k.a Flu. 

Flu is long considered a dangerous seasonal scourge, until Covid showed up to take the limelight. Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. Notice the similarities between the symptoms to Corona virus? Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. But influenza can cause severe illness or death especially in people at high risk, similar to CoVid-19. Hospitalization and death occur mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths.

Amongst our global health challenges – CoVid-19

The death rate due to CoVid-19 is still unclear but experts suggest that it might be higher than the seasonal flu. Well then remember that the new CoVid virus is “new” and therefore there are no vaccines as of date and no direct medications developed yet. Which means, many treatments are administered in the hope that your own immune system would take up the battle against the virus as well. So being a relatively new virus, where the world has to catch up with it while still battling other global health challenges, it is not surprising that the death rate is high for now. Lets not forget fighting this virus demands a structured interplay of government legislations and mobilisation, health care system, global mobility, individual responsibility and so on. So it’s a tough job imposed on the world with short notice!

The point of this blog is to draw your attention to the fact that CoVid-19 is not the first health issue we have faced. In the midst of all these health challenges faced by the world today, there have been measures to prevent, intervern and prepare by our respective government. But you are not helpless as you too can work to develop the best possible immune system your body can offer. That’s just one step you can take. It is so important that we all take these small steps because at the end of the day, we want to reduce the burden placed on our health care system.

Dedicated healthcare workers are in the forefront caring for the sick and risking their lives. It is only fair to do what you can to ease their burden, like stay at home, like take care of yourself. This is not the time to keep up with eating junk food! This is the time to take care of what comes into your mouth. Take your contribution seriously. We have listed 7 things you can do from wherever you are. Let us know how you are coping with the CoVid-19 pandemic news reports, your social distancing experience and any health tip to strengthen our immune system that you have tried out. Read my blog on how to boost your immune system to learn more stay home activism. 

More articles on wellbeing for entrepreneurs will be posted weekly. Due to the CoVid-19 crises, we would update our CoVid-19 page daily or even multiple times a day to give entrepreneurs, especially mumpreneurs the best possible support through this season. To stay updated about new releases and published content, subscribe to our wellbeing newsletter. For general Joadre updates, use our main newsletter. Follow on instagram to see how I am spending my time #homeoffice #social distancing #immune booster.

Thank you for reading till the end. If you have worries and need details about the ongoing Covid-19 crises and other global health challenges, be sure to write to your local health center or the provided email/telephone contact available in your region for this issue. 

Stay safe & share to keep the awareness alive!


I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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